Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Make a Purse From Your Fat Quarter Stash

I have had a couple of requests for the pattern for my Flirty Bow Wrapped fat quarter bags. I have been a little reluctant to do this because I got a little complicated in the details and wasn't sure I could explain it all. But things are a little slow here at Rainbow Creek so I figured what the heck, and decided to give it a shot.

This is really a fun bag to make and you can be really creative and use up some FQs that you just love.

But let me just say that this tutorial has a few caveats.

1. I make things up as a I go.

2. I try, I really do, to write down my measurements and take photos of each step. I know there are few things that I didn't get pictures of that I hope I can explain well enough.
3. This pattern might be easy enough for beginners, but I can't guarantee that. I add quite a bit of detail in my instructions, but I might assume that you have basic sewing knowledge and forget to explain some of the minor details.

So here goes: For this purse you will need, 4-8 FQs depending on what you want the outside of the bag to look like, 1 yard of coordinating fabric for lining, fusible interfacing, 1 1/2 yard matching grosgrain ribbon. 

Also, optional but nice, 4 1 1/2" D rings, one magnetic snap, 12"X4" piece of plastic needlepoint canvas. I actually get these at Wal-Mart but not all of them have sewing and notions anymore, but they are available at most fabric and craft stores too.

Cut: For front and back of bag cut 6 pieces 10" X 6 1/4" from fat quarters. Cut 2 pieces 6 1/4" X 6" for outside front pocket and lining.

For bottom of bag cut one piece 18" X 9"

For bag lining cut one piece 18" X 28" For inside pockets I made two large pockets, one was 6 1/2" X 12 1/2" and the other was 6 1/2" X 8 1/2" cut two pieces for each. You can make them whatever size you like or leave them out if you are not needing inside pockets.

Cut one piece of interfacing 18" X 27"

Stitch the outside pocket along the top seam Right Sides Together (RST), turn and press. Line up pocket on center front of bag and stitch the 3 front sections together using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Stitch the 3 back sections together, 1/4" seam allowance.

Stitch the bottom section to the front, using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Stitch the bottom section to the back with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Press seam allowance toward bottom of bag.

Now apply the interfacing, centering it so there is 1/2" of bag above each end. It takes some time to get this much interfacing stuck down properly and you will need to press down with out bubbling the fabric. Then turn it over and press well on the fabric side to make sure it is smooth.

Cut a length of ribbon 18" and pin it with the top just above the seam line on each side of the bag. Stitch very close to the top and bottom edge of ribbon.

Fold the bag in half and pin, making sure that the ribbon is matched up on each side. Stitch side seams, use 1/2" seam allowance.

Turn the bag and press seams open.

Press the corner to form a triangle. Make sure that the bottom center is lined up with the side seam or you will have a crooked bottom and your bag will be twisted looking. This is a step you do not want to do over, trust me.

Bring the point of the triangle up to the bottom of the ribbon and pin in place. Repeat this for the other side.

Topstitch the triangle as close as you can to the edge.

This is a little tricky, you will have to be careful not to catch any of the other side of the bag in the stitching and the bag is fairly stiff from the interfacing so can be hard to maneuver. But I have faith in you and know you can do it!

Now press under the top edge of the bag 1/2" and stitch. Then press under 1" all the way around.

Cut the plastic canvas to fit the bottom of the bag, it should be approx. 4" X 12 1/2" and you want it to fit snug.

Check to see if it fits, trim a little if needed. Hand stitch a few stitches on each end to side seams to hold it in place.

For inside pockets I did not take pictures. Stitch right sides together leaving an opening at bottom for turning. Turn, press well, press the open edges to inside. Topstitch 1/4" from top edge. Center pocket about 2 1/2" - 3" from center bottom. For the large 12" pocket I stitched down the center to make two pockets. Stitch in place close to edges.

Stitch side seams of lining. Press seams open. Do not turn.

Press bottom to form a triangle. Center the point and mark a line at 4" across the triangle. Stitch across line. I usually stitch again just outside of the first line, just to be safe. Cut the corner off about 1/2" from stitching line.

For straps, cut 4 strips 2 1/2" X 30" long. If you are using fat quarters you will need to seam two 15" strips together for each piece. I sometimes make the inside of the strap from the lining fabric and the outside from the fat quarters, just depends on how I feel at the time. And I am pretty frugal with my fabrics so I have been known to do pieced straps too. Whatever you like will be perfect.

Having said all that, you will now want to stitch two long strips together using a 1/2" seam allowance. Cut a 1 1/2" strip of interfacing and apply to one side of strap. Press under 1/2" on each side.

I make a lot of straps so I have a trick for pressing the seam allowances under, which I am going to share with you. I take a file folder and cut off a straight edge and then mark a 1/2" line with my ruler. I lay this on top of my fabric, fold over to the line and press it down right on the cardboard piece. This give me a nice straight line and even seams. One warning, the cardboard gets really hot, so be careful when handling it!

Ok, next you fold the strap in half and topstitch 1/4" along each edge. Make sure that you have the interfaced side facing up when you stitch to keep the fabric from stretching and getting wonky. I topstitch again a scant 1/4" inside the first row, that is optional but I like the way it looks.

If you are using D rings for attaching the straps you will need to make another 16" long strap the same way. After finishing, cut it into 4 sections 4" each.

Fold each section in half over one D ring and pin in place about 3" from side seams.

Place lining inside bag and fold down top to match the top edge of bag. Apply magnetic snap at center of lining appox. 1/2" from top of fold.

Topstitch all the way around bag 1/4" from top edge. Stitch again 1" from top edge.

Fold raw edges under on each end of straps. Press. Fold strap ends over D rings about 1" and stitch close to edge. Stitch again 1/4" inside first row of stitching.

Make a pretty bow with remaining ribbon.
Stitch to front of bag by hand.


Ok, I did my best and I hope you will have fun with this tutorial making your own flirty bow wrapped bag. Please comment! And feel free to ask if you have any questions or if I missed anything important.


  1. I have wanted to make one of these for myself....now I can! Thanks so much-it is beautiful btw!!

  2. Beautiful bag! Thanks so much for sharing. I've been wanting to use my fq's for this very thing!

  3. You are welcome! I like to challenge myself sometimes. Doing the tutorial was actually harder for me than making the bag! Have fun and post pics of you new bags when you get them done.

  4. This is so nice, I have a friend with a birthday coming up...I'll have to go through my fabric drawers!

  5. What an excellent tutorial! Loved the steps, all the photos and the easy directions. Very stumble worthy!

  6. A friend tipped me off about your tutorial....thanks heaps for sharing, am going to make one now. Hugs Naomi

  7. Thank you it has been a wonderful guide, now to make a purse from our fat quarter stash is definitely very easy with your tips. Thank you


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